I am fully aware that the entire interweblogosphere has been waiting with bated garlic and onion breath for me to post my highly acclaimed, world famous, much anticipated Kenny Poo 2012 Top 10 Favorite Albums. Well, my faithful admirers, you can now finally brush your teeth and gargle Listerine, beacuse the moment you've all been self-medicating yourself in anticipation for is finally here!
Thank you! Thank you! Please, you're all too kind. Stop, you're embarrassing me. Thank you! Thank you!
Now, many of you reading this may be curious as to how I'm defining the year in music. Excellent question, and the answer is I will be posting my Top 10 albums from the past calendar year, subjectively, without regard to how well they sold, what genre they may be in, or what my own fans think I should select.
In other words, it's all about what I like. ME, ME, ME, ME, ME, MEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Thus, without further ado, allow me to present to you the official, 1st annual, never to be duplicated though certain to be imitated, 2012 Kenny Poo Top 10 Favorite Albums Of The Year!
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10. The Lumineers - The Lumineers (album)
The Lumineers are one of the emerging leaders of the new folk rock movement, and their debut album is a very catchy, straightforward LP that really gets the feet stomping. Lots of Irish singalong influences with a hint of Dylan's vocal stylings, they are kind of a hybrid between Civil Wars and Mumford & Sons. Organic, raw, ear-wormy simplicity, but still room to grow for this talented young group.
9. Kelly Clarkson - iTunes Session
Kelly has one of the best sets of pipes in the biz, and they are beautifully highlighted on this acoustic album she recorded for iTunes. She sings a nice mix from her new album (Stronger), as well as some of her classics from the past. I'm not a big pop music fan, so hearing her perform it straight and true without any the synthed production bullshit was very refreshing. Girl's got soul!
8. Esperanza Spalding - Radio Music Society
I'm a big jazz fan, and Esperanza is among my top modern favorites. As was the case with her two previous albums, Esperanza shows off a healthy display of pristine vocals and skillful upright bass stylings. Radio got a bit too slick on the production at times for my tastes, but I loved the wonderful hints of funk and soulful blues she added to accent her traditional jazz sound. Overall, it's a gorgeous LP that's a must for any jazz enthusiast.
7. Casey Abrams - Casey Abrams (album)
This underrated gem from former American Idol finalist Casey Abrams kinda flew under the radar, but it's very much on my radar. The album features a very interesting variety of instrumentation, with the talented Abrams performing much of them himself. A unique fusion of pop, folk-rock, jazz and soul, Casey gave us an album that is fun to listen to from start to finish.
6. John Mayer - Born and Raised
If you're a fan of vintage, Gold Rush era Neil Young music you'll love this album. Old-school Americana featuring Mayer on acoustic guitar and harmonica, this record has no extraneous bullshit. Sadly, Mayer contracted a debilitating throat ailment shortly after recording this album and couldn't tour to support it. Great travel music, I must have looped this 20 times on my family truckster drive to Buffalo back in August.
5. Crystal Bowersox - Once Upon A Time
I couldn't decide if I should put this record on my list because it's just a tiny, five track EP rather than a full album. I decided it belonged because I frankly cannot stop listening to it. Mama has without a doubt the most pristine voice I've ever heard, and when she sings soft, pretty folk music her pitch-perfect vocals bloom like a beautiful sunflower. Just Crystal on acoustic guitar with Frankie May's bass accompaniment, it's a great teaser for the full album set to be released sometime in February/March. If this album had a few more songs I'd have made it Top 3.
4. Seth Walker - Time Can Change
A very unique, eclectic blend of sophisticated blues fused with jazz and soul, Walker's a smooth guitar man with vocal stylings equal parts Sinatra and Clapton. Sound interesting? It is. Walker's album is very strong top to bottom, and I rank Time Can Change among my favorites for good reason. Nobody I would compare him to, really. Do yourself a favor and check this LP out.
3. Haley Reinhart - Listen Up!
Haley has to be among the most versatile, talented and drop-dead gorgeous singers I've ever heard or seen, and on Listen Up! she shows all of it off and then some. Featuring her smokey, silky vocals on a wide mix of music styles ranging from pop, to Motown, to disco, to soul, to reggae, to rock, there is truly something for everyone to love on this album. I think it sucks that her major label debut didn't get heard as much as much as it deserved, because it was truly one of the very best of 2012. Seems her label (Interscope) just didn't know how to market her music, and therefore withheld the money train for her promo. As fantastic as this LP was, however, a more jazz/blues centric future is where I hope Haley's plans lie, because in that genre she's a vocal prodigy second to none.
2. Joss Stone - Soul Sessions 2
I was a fan of her first Soul Session several years back, but this album was even better. A top-to-bottom KILLER! Joss put her own individual spin on covers of lesser known classic soul songs from the 70's, and she just pours her heart and soul into the soul. That's a lot of fucking soul, and my soul loved every inch of her soul on Soul Sessions 2. If you like soul, you gotta get this album, my brothas and sistas.
1. Phillip Phillips - The World From The Side Of The Moon
I have been completely blown away by Phillip's debut album. It's acoustic based folk rock with some dark, hard rock edge and accents of smokey jazz. The album is really strong instrumentally, deep lyrically, and without any filler songs to round out the album. His smash hit single Home is only one small reason to buy this album, because it's chock filled with great tracks. The first word that comes to my mind for World From The Side Of the Moon is artistic. To go further with descriptions, it's poetic, it's singsong, it's heavy, it's light, it's dark, it's sentimental, it's rugged, it's fun and it's introspective. The full gambit, and at the same time completely organic, which is unusual to say the least for a major label production for an American Idol winner. It's simply an awesome record, and is the Kenny Poo choice for Album Of The Year.